Choose your escalations carefully. You never know when the response you get may be overwhelming.
Example: you hit someone, almost playfully. They hit you back. Somewhat less playfully. So you get annoyed and strike with some seriousness. They punch you in the head. Now you have a black eye, which isn’t cute. This works metaphorically too.
On the other hand, if necessary, bide your time, then strike so hard and so viciously there is nothing left in the bank for payback.